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May 29, 2016 / 21 Iyar, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Boycott’

NJ State Senate Unanimously Rejects BDS for Pension Fund

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

The New Jersey State Senate has unanimously rejected the Palestinian Authority-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

A bill requiring the state’s public worker pension fund to divest from companies that boycott Israel was approved in a 39-0 vote, NJ.com reported Monday.

The State Assembly must still vote on the measure (S1923), however. Under the legislation, the state Division of Investments would be unable to invest the public workers’ $68.6 billion pension fund in companies that support the boycott.

Those funds already invested with such companies must be removed within the next 18 months, except for companies providing “humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people through either a governmental or non-governmental organization (NGO) unless it is also engaging in prohibited boycotts.”

New Jersey has one of the largest Jewish populations in the United States. But the state also prohibits its pension fund from investing in businesses with ties to Iran, Sudan and Northern Ireland.

“New Jersey cannot support such biased practices as those of the BDS against our sister state,” state Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen) said in a statement.

“Israel has long been a vibrant trading partner, ally and friend with our state, and making sure that we are not investing in any company that seeks to hurt the interests of Israel or its people through boycotts, divestments and sanctions will send a clear message that we stand against this kind of veiled discrimination.”

“I think this bill sends a very clear message to our friends in Israel that New Jersey has your back,” State Senator Jim Beach (D-Camden) added.

Hana Levi Julian

Jewish Human Rights Watch Suing 3 Councils in High Court over BDS

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

Jewish Human Rights Watch (JHRW) has taken Swansea, Gwyneedd and Leicester councils to the High Court in London, alleging their boycott of Israeli goods is anti-Semitic and violates the 2010 Equality Act.

The group noted on their Facebook page: “We’re in the #‎HighCourt today and tomorrow about The Labour Party’s Leicester City Council & City and County of Swansea & Gwynedd Council’s #‎Antisemitic #‎Boycott motions. We’ll keep you updated as soon as we hear anything.”

Several local councils across the UK voted to boycott Israeli goods after 2009, when Israel refused to embrace the Hamas’ need to shoot rockets at its civilian population.

In 2010, Swansea council was seeking contracts with Veolia, a company connected to a project building a light railway in eastern Jerusalem. But then a motion was put before the council stating the project “not only contravenes UN demands but is in contravention of international law,” since the UN “has demanded that Israeli settlement activities and occupation should not be supported.”

Several council members called on the council to not do business with “any company in breach of international law or UN obligations or demands, so long as to do so would not be in breach of any relevant legislation.” The motion was approved.

Andrew Sharland, an attorney for Leicester’s council, which in 2014 approved a similar boycott of Israeli goods, said the JHRW is trying to “stifle criticisms of Israel.”

“What this challenge really concerns is criticism of the State of Israel, and the claimant’s desire to suppress it,” he said.

Following the 2014 vote, JHRW issued a statement saying, “Leicester City Council has taken steps down an anti-Semitic path under the guise of helping community relations in Leicester. Frankly this amounts to a get-of-out-town order to Leicester Jews.”

In 2014, Gwynedd council also passed a motion calling for a trade embargo against Israel, condemning the “attacks by the Israeli state on the territory of the Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip.” Just to make sure they did not come across as anti-Semites, Gwynedd council added, “It must be made clear that the proposal condemned the Israeli state and not the Jewish religion.”

The British government earlier this year issued guidelines for public authorities which say these boycotts are “inappropriate” without formal legal sanctions or embargoes by the national government. In fact, the Cabinet Office has said these boycotts “undermine good community relations, poison and polarize debate, weaken integration and fuel anti-Semitism.”

But Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, whose party has been ridding itself of an industrial-size stash of anti-Semitic members in recent days, criticized the government’s warning against BDS as an “attack on local democracy.”

David Israel

France Snubbed Israeli Offer of Advanced Counter Terror Technology

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

Nearly a year before Da’esh (ISIS) terrorists tore apart a beautiful Paris night, an Israeli company offered terrorist tracking software to France.

It was just after the January 2015 slaughter by a dual Da’esh (ISIS) and Al Qaeda terrorist cells at the Paris offices of the satiric Charlie Hebdo magazine, where 12 people were killed, and the Jewish Hyper Cacher kosher market, just before the start of the Sabbath, where four people died.

Nearly a year prior, four people died at the Jewish Museum of Brussels in a similar attack, also by a Da’esh (ISIS) terrorist with French citizenship.

The advanced technology could have allowed French security officials pick up the signals that would have red-flagged the terrorists who murdered 130 people and wounded 368 more on November 13, 2015.  It was only last month that the mastermind of that attack was finally tracked down and caught.

According to a report this week on the U.S.-based Fox News network, the data-mining technology would have helped French authorities “connect all the dots” in the Islamist extremist community, because it works by analyzing and matching up fragmented intelligence reports from several different national and international databases. The software then provides the most up-to-date information available on potential terrorists for its clients, such as counter terrorism agents.

The offer was made to the Directorate-General for Internal Security (DGSI) of France, the country’s main intelligence agency, in accordance with a pledge made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to work closely with Europe on enhancing security following attacks in France and Brussels. In Israel, that was seen as a call to share intelligence and technology.

“In Paris or Brussels or San Bernardino or Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, terror must be condemned equally and it must be fought equally,” Netanyahu warned at the time.

But Israel’s offer was rejected.

An Israeli counter terror specialist familiar with the technology and the company told FoxNews.com, “French authorities liked it but the official came back and said there was a higher-level instruction not to buy Israeli technology.

“The discussion just stopped.”

Instead, Da’esh (ISIS) terrorists carried out a series of eight attacks terror attacks, including several suicide bombings, on November 13, 2015, in central Paris. President Francois Hollande called the attacks an “act of war” by ISIS. They were planned in Syria, organized in Belgium and carried out with help from citizens of France. All of the known attackers were EU citizens who had fought with Da’esh in Syria.

The European Union is now paying the price for its unswerving commitment to uphold the “rights” of the Palestinian Authority, right or wrong, against Israel even at the cost of its own security. The EU has been directly involved in the funding and construction of infrastructure, homes and schools by Palestinian Authority Arabs on Israeli-controlled land in Area C under the Oslo Accords, despite its illegality. The EU has also been supportive of a boycott against Israeli-produced goods, even going so far as to issue guidelines urging its member states to label products manufactured in post-1967 Jewish communities as non-Israeli, regardless of the citizenship of the producers.

The European Union has just barely avoided an outright stance supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

France complied – it obviously agreed with the stance, nor is President Hollande’s dislike for Prime Minister Netanyahu any national secret – and the bill has now come due for French hatred at the top.

The British Labour Party is similarly afflicted with rampant anti-Semitism. What price will the UK end up paying for its love of Arab hatred?

Hana Levi Julian

How to Answer an Israel Boycott

Monday, April 25th, 2016

{Originally posted to the Commentary website}

Friends of Israel have watched with alarm as the BDS — boycott, sanction, divest — movement has sought a beachhead in this country on college campuses. The BDSers have failed with most academic institutions rejecting calls to divest from companies that do business with Israel. But just as insidious are the efforts to exploit scholarly associations in order to try and ban contacts with Israeli schools and scholars. The first great success they had was with the American Studies Association, which voted to boycott Israel in 2013. Since then others, such as the National Women’s Studies Association, have followed in their footsteps. These boycotts have been roundly condemned as both discriminatory and unhelpful to the cause of peace by reputable scholars and university presidents. But that’s left those who consider these attempts to exploit any influence these groups possess to aid in a war that aims at the destruction of the Jewish state frustrated at their inability to stop a determined minority of Israel-haters from hijacking organizations whose purpose has nothing to do with the politics of the Middle East.

But it turns out there is something that can be done about it. With the help of some enterprising legal minds, a number of prominent members of the American Studies Association are suing the ASA and the leaders behind the boycott of Israel in federal court. On the surface, that sounds like a nuisance suit that might be a waste of the court system’s time. But a closer look at the effort shows that this legal attack on the BDS movement is on solid ground.

Legal scholars Eugene Kontorovich and Steven Davidoff Solomon laid out the rationale for the suit in an article in the Wall Street Journal back in December.

In passing the boycott resolution, the ASA violated the terms of its corporate charter, which just happened to be approved by Congress when it was founded and the District of Columbia Non-Profit Corporation Act that requires an organization to operate only within the provisions of its charter. Promoting a campaign to stigmatize Israelis and to deny them access to U.S. institutions is not only an act of despicable prejudice. It has nothing to do with the ASA’s purpose of promoting scholarship about American studies and therefore changes the very nature of the group.

According to Jerome Marcus, lead counsel for the plaintiffs:

This case stands for the simple proposition that nonprofit corporations must pursue the lawful purposes for which they are established, for which they receive nonprofit status, and for which they raise charitable contributions.

By stepping beyond the purposes for which it was founded in order to become a vehicle for political advocacy, the ASA violated that charter, which is not only filed with the IRS in order to maintain its non-profit status but is, in legal terms, a contract with its members. Moreover, the method by which the ASA leaders managed to pass the resolution also violated the rules stated in that same charter.

Can this effort succeed in brushing back the ASA as well as setting a precedent that may serve to deter other groups from being hijacked in this manner? While there is no way of knowing in advance how the federal courts will decide, the prospects for the suit are better than you might think.

There are legal precedents for non-profits being compelled to abide by the terms of their founding documents. The chief merit of the suit is that the violation of the ASA’s charter cannot be reasonably denied. Boycott advocates claim that the fact that the United States supports Israel brings activism against the Jewish state under the rubric of American studies but this is rubbish. Whatever one may think about Israel, waging an economic war against it or discriminating against its institutions and citizens in no way advances the purposes of scholarly work on specifically American topics. The only way for this to be conceivably possible is for the group to have transformed itself from one dedicated to scholarship into a political organization. And that is precisely what the lawsuit alleges the leaders of the group did when they pushed this resolution through to passage. But by doing so without formally amending their constitution, they violated the law.

Nor can the boycott organizers claim that the vote taken at their convention is implicit permission from the members to do just that and to change the ASA’s purpose. One problem with that claim is that the vote did not conform to the terms of the group’s bylaws. In that case, the indecent haste of the Israel-haters undermined their authority to act.

Nor is there any legal or political precedent that might give the ASA’s leadership the right to act in this manner. Contrary to what one might assume, during the campaign against the apartheid regime in South Africa neither the ASA nor most other similarly constituted groups boycotted that nation. If it had and gotten away with such conduct, it might have been reasonable for its members to think that a similar attack against Israel might be legal even if there is absolutely no analogy between the circumstances of a democratic state with a Jewish majority defending itself against foes determined to destroy it and the white minority regime in South Africa.

Moreover, the terms of the boycott are such that they leave no room for doubt as to the political purpose. The boycott is not rooted in claims of discrimination against Arabs or the manner in which democratic Israel treats Palestinians. Its terms call not merely for any Israeli institution or scholar to disassociate themselves from their country’s policies but to work to change its borders and to potentially replace it with a Palestinian state — the stated goal of Hamas and even that of the moderate Palestinian Authority that regards all of pre-1967 Israel as “occupied” territory.”

Let’s not mince words about the basic purpose of Israel boycotts. Those who advocate for them are seeking to treat the one Jewish state on the planet differently than any other country. By denying the Jewish people the right to self-determination in their ancient homeland and the right of self-defense against those who seek its elimination, the boycotters are practicing a form of discrimination. Though anti-Zionists claim not to be prejudiced against Jews, what they are doing is an act of bias. Acts of bias against Jews are anti-Semitism.

The perversion of a group that was founded to promote scholarship about America into one that aims at attacking Israel is a scandal. But as this suit shows, it is also illegal. Let’s hope that the courts heed the strong arguments in the filing and put the ASA and the entire scholarly world on notice that such illegal and prejudicial conduct will not be tolerated. At the very least, it will stand as a warning to other such associations that they cannot take part in illegal boycotts of the Jewish state with impunity.

Jonathan S. Tobin

Enough With the Gratuitous Israel-Bashing – Some Profs are Fighting Back

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

Imagine this:  an organization called the American Studies Association, which was chartered by the Congress of the United States of America, and which is based in Washington, D.C., and which is composed of American scholars at American universities teaching American students about America, decided in 2013, that it should declare that it would – and all other U.S. academic institutions should – cease to deal with any Israeli academic institutions.

Got that?  Don’t you think a boycott of Israeli academics is what professors of American history, American culture, American literature should have as their organization’s mission? No?

If not, it turns out that four distinguished members of the ASA agree with you. And so does the organisation’s actual mission statement. That’s why those four members announced today that they are suing the ASA, charging that the blatant politicization of their academic association violates District of Columbia (D.C.) law governing nonprofit organizations.

“Until a handful of zealots hijacked our learned society, the ASA was the leading organization for the study of American culture,” stated Professor Simon Bronner, one of the plaintiffs. “Yet in 2013, in marched a handful of anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) activists and suddenly ASA is an organization of social change pushing a narrow political agenda.”

According to the plaintiffs – all four of whom are professors who teach American Studies – the boycott adopted by ASA in December 2013 was a concerted effort by a small number of BDS activists, including founding members of the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI), who used their leadership positions in ASA to make anti-Israel activism the central focus of the Association.

ASA’s stated mission – obviously and literally – has nothing to do with boycotting a foreign nation and thus the suit alleges its adoption violates the law that governs nonprofit corporations. These laws prevent organizations from engaging in activity that ignores its raison d’être, according to its own incorporating documents. An example: an organization created expressly as a charity to benefit the disabled cannot, because of these laws, take its donors’ money and decide it wants to instead promote fracking or protest animal cruelty.

The Complaint was brought against the people who are, or recently were, officers of the ASA, and who have used their positions to redirect the erstwhile scholarly organization.

In the allegations filed Wednesday, April 20, the plaintiffs explain:  “The Individual Defendants’ goals have nothing to do with the promotion of scholarship and everything to do with the advancement of their own political views, and their goal in hijacking the ASA is to use it to advance those views, not to advance the study of American culture.“

When the boycott was initiated, ASA’s constitution stated that “[t]he object of the association [is] the promotion of the study of American culture through the encouragement of research, teaching, publication…about American culture in all its diversity and complexity.”

The lawsuit charges that a boycott of another country is outside the scope of ASA’s charter and is the antithesis of promoting knowledge. ASA’s constitution goes on to say that ASA’s goal is “the strengthening of relations among persons and institutions in this country and abroad devoted to such studies.” According to the Complaint, the boycott does the exact opposite:  it affirmatively excludes an entire country and its academics.

In addition, as a tax-exempt nonprofit, ASA reports annually to the Internal Revenue Service. In its IRS documents, the Association continues to describe its mission as “the nation’s oldest and largest association devoted to the interdisciplinary study of American culture and history,” with its “exempt purpose – advancing the Study of American Culture.”  Plaintiffs allege that the academic boycott of Israel is clearly outside of this stated mission and purpose. Sounds right, doesn’t it?

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Dani Dayan to be Israeli Consul General in New York, Not Ambassador to Brazil

Monday, March 28th, 2016

Former Yesha Council head Dani Dayan is being promoted after months of resistance from the government of Brazil, which has avoided accepting his appointment as Israel’s new ambassador.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Monday instead that he has appointed Dayan, 59, as Israel’s new Consul General in New York – an appointment that Dayan preferred as first choice.

Dayan’s knowledge of Spanish will be extremely helpful in his new position; New York is home to a huge Spanish-speaking population. Born in Argentina, he is a businessman with an MBA in finance.

Dayan will replace Ido Aharoni, a long-time Foreign Ministry official, this summer. Dayan was called the settlers’ “foreign minister” for his ability to present the views of Jewish residents living in Judea and Samaria to those with no knowledge of the area. He lives in Ma’ale Shomron, a community about nine miles from Kfar Saba.

“Those who don’t want me in Brazilia, will get me in the capital of the world and to me that is a victory,” Dayan said on Monday at the Ynet and Yedioth Ahronoth anti-BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) conference.

Last August, Brazil’s President Dilma Roussett had passed a message to Israel that she was uncomfortable with Dayan’s appointment due to his ties with the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. Roussett was being pressured by the BDS movement via 40 prominent organizations in Brazil, who signed a petition calling on her to decline the appointment. The petition – and protests joined by several Brazilian lawmakers – claimed Dayan’s appointment as ambassador was a violation of international legitimacy and a challenge to the sovereignty of Brazil.

Israel has worked hard to improve and maintain good relations with Brazil. Since the country is the largest in South America, it was important to find a diplomatic solution to the dilemma, but not to cave to the BDS pressure while preserving Dayan’s status.

“I believe I can revolutionize Israeli public relations in the US, whose beating heart is in New York,” Dayan said.

Hana Levi Julian

Manchester Rallies Against Terrorism in Israel

Sunday, March 13th, 2016

Thousands of pro-Israel activists are expected to show up this afternoon (Sunday, March 13) at a national rally for peace organized by North West Friends of Israel (NWFOI).

Scheduled for 2 pm at the Palace Theater in south Manchester, the theme of the rally is “Say No To Terror: Say Yes to Peace.”

Poster promoting the pro-Israel, anti-terrorism rally for peace in Manchester.

Poster promoting the pro-Israel, anti-terrorism rally for peace in Manchester.

The rally has received support from grassroots groups around the UK but also from top leaders such as Britain’s Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, the Jewish Leadership Council, the Israeli Embassy, and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu himself.

Speakers expected to address the attendees include Conservative Friends of Israel chairman Sir Eric Pickles, Enfield North Member of Parliament Joan Ryan, Board of Deputies senior vice-president Richard Verber, and Zionist Federation chairman Paul Charney.

Rally co-chair Anthony Dennison told the British Jewish Chronicle that upon release of the location, reservations for the event “came through thick and fast.”

The event was originally set for January 31 but organizers were forced to reschedule when the site owners of the Sheridan Suite cancelled in response to “gross intimidation” from the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/manchester-rally-against-terrorism-in-israel/2016/03/13/

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